- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2002

It's one thing to scout a team and another to have inside information on it.
Howard had the latter yesterday against Norfolk State, playing a team for which first-year Bison coach Ray Petty and defensive coordinator Keith Gilmore were assistants last season.
"We had an idea of what they were going to do," Gilmore said. "It was definitely an advantage as far as our game plan was concerned."
The knowledge showed as the Bison defense earned its first shutout in two years and junior running back Jay Colbert rushed 18 times for 155 yards and one score in a 21-0 victory over its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival before 5,200 at Greene Stadium.
"It was one of my better games compared to the others this season," said Colbert, whose 46-yard touchdown run in the second quarter made it 14-0 . "The offensive line was banged up some. I take my hat off to them because I wouldn't have been able to go anywhere without their effort."
Indeed, Howard (5-3, 3-2 MEAC) got a stellar performance from its offensive line, but it was the defense that caused several miscues and penalties by the Spartans and allowed just 19 yards rushing on 35 carries. The defense and special teams set the tone from the start.
Early in the first quarter, Howard's Gregg Spriggs blocked a punt by Gideon Tekola. Howard's Donald Lank scooped up the ball and returned it two yards for an early 7-0 lead.
What started out as a good day turned scary for the Bison late in the first quarter. On the first play of Howard's second drive, senior quarterback Donald Clark took a hard shot to the ribs from blitzing cornerback Anthony Owens, and was down for a few minutes before being taken off the field. He underwent X-rays at Howard University Hospital and will be evaluated this week.
With five minutes left in the half, Colbert took a pitch from backup quarterback Marcus Moreno and raced around left end for 46 yards and a touchdown.
"He's probably one of the best in the conference," said Petty, who was Norfolk State's defensive coordinator last season. "Each week we try to get him the ball more. He can do anything you would want out of a running back."
Howard's special teams continued to torment the Spartans (2-6, 0-6). On the kickoff following Colbert's score, Owens was stripped of the ball by Kevin Tyson, and Lank recovered to give the Bison another chance before halftime. The drive ended on an incomplete pass from Moreno to Kevin Simmonds.

It didn't seem to matter what quarterback Dontrel Leonard and the Norfolk State offense tried to do, the Bison had an answer. Norfolk State had just 51 yards of total offense in the first half.
The defensive onslaught continued for the last 30 minutes as Leonard was sacked three times, and running back Terrell Johnson was bottled up. Leonard finished with just three completions for 53 yards before giving way to backup David Johnson late in the fourth.
"That might have been the worst game we've ever played," said Norfolk State coach Maurice Forte. "We never got on track with the running game, and we were not connecting on the passes we had."
Moreno and Jonathan Brewer connected for the game-clinching 19-yard score with 10:28 left in the third. Moreno also went down with an injury to his right shoulder late in the period but said it was nothing serious.
"When Clark went down, I knew I had to step up to the plate," said Moreno, who finished with 73 yards passing. "I think I did pretty good today."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide